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Your bistros are heroes

They have long served as a refuge for those skilled in the elbow, for thirst relief enthusiasts, for those vaccinated with saltpetre. But they don’t only have the historical function of welcoming people to water their throats. The bistros, troquets, corks, roadsteads, cafes, bars have a social reason. They create closeness. They facilitate the discussion, feed the empty time, contribute to the appointments. They abundantly illustrate the photos of our dear visitors, especially foreigners. They are part of the tourist dimension. And yet, in France, we hardly see them on the websites of the Tourist Offices. Forgotten in the tourism value chain. It’s amazing and it’s unfair. Also, I would like to discuss with you the interest of taking them into consideration.

At the heart of local life

In the 1960s, France had 200,000 drinking establishments. In 1964, the holiday departure rate was only 43%. We worked hard, but we took the time for an aperitif, discussion and belote at the bistro with friends and colleagues. Today, there are less than 40,000 cafes, but people go on vacation much more often. With this decline in the number of bistros, simple relationships, slang and happy scenes are disappearing. However, these evening or early morning languages, on the fringes of everyday language, have made the salt of films nourished by the dialogues of Michel Audiard. Curiously, apart from Paris, widely traveled in all directions by international tourists, it is often in neighborhoods or villages less visited by travelers, that we discover delightful places to land. You can refresh yourself there, drink in Switzerland, clean your teeth, meet the populo and the aristocrat of the area, rest there for a while, hear conversations, listen to music, answer your emails and social conversations.

And if we honestly examine the place reserved for bistros on the websites of the Tourist Offices, we fall head over heels. These social places par excellence are rarely highlighted. A brief description of the SIT and presto. So no, they should clearly be pushed. Some are really worth a look. Look carefully for your local nugget, the bar of your adolescence that persists, the local reference sign, there is plenty to do. Look at the websites of destinations in Spain: the section on bars occupies a significant place, in the same way as that on restaurants or cultural sites.


If in the North we sometimes value the estaminets, where some come to open a street (pay their slate), in Gascony we appreciate the Cercles where the last rugby match is replayed, where the last municipal election is commented on. In regions less exposed to tourism, there are multiple premises serving as a bread and press depot, a life-saving grocery store and a rallying point bistro. The great black and white photographers were not mistaken, it was in the cafes that people were appreciated and their playful expressions. Fortunately in certain neighborhoods, I am thinking of Rue de la Gaité in Paris or near Belleville, around 6 – 7 p.m., young people gather for after parties. In my beautiful city of Bayonne, the Bar du Marché is the institution. He has his page on Instagram. This is where the Bayonne atmosphere vibrates. And the RRRR of the famous steak frrrrites rolled by Josette the founder. In Paris, the 4 Rosa Bonheur guinguettes are super warm modern-day dance bars.

The market bar in Bayonne, with Josette in the center

I really recommend that you take the time to go around your most emblematic bars and highlight them well beyond the simple tourist object: the experience in one of these places is one of the most wonderful. for a tourist. Especially since he can see, hear, meet locals in the flesh. On the scale of an average city or a village, bars are tourist sites of the first importance.

I recommend specific editorial work around short stories and brave counters. If we meet fewer noses today with polish in these places, we can always go to the local notary to update our faces. To the charming expressions heard in historic bars will be added photos and memorable moments. Especially since this is where you can still enjoy excellent sandwiches or old-fashioned dishes. Marion Descors who runs the Tourist Office of Orthe and Arrigans in the Landes was not mistaken. In the collection of podcasts she created Rendez-vous en terre authentic, we discover the fabulous Peyrehorade market and Bernadette from the bar and restaurant Le bon coin, les pieds de poche. A delight. Frankly, your bistros are heroes, think about highlighting them.

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